Pizza is among the most popular foods for adults and children alike. Since it was first enjoyed hundreds of years ago, billions of slices of pizza have been eaten worldwide. Americans alone eat approximately 350 slices per second.
While popular toppings in North America include pepperoni, mushrooms and sausage, in countries like India, pickled ginger and minced mutton are eaten on pizza. In Japan, squid and Mayo Jaga are common.
However pizza is enjoyed, it's one of the few foods that transcends generations. It can be both gourmet fare and quick finger food depending on the venue. Furthermore, pizza can be made and enjoyed at home.
One of the secrets of good pizza is the dough. While some people shy away from yeast doughs at home, with a little know-how, home chefs can begin making pizza just like the professionals. Aspiring pizza pros or just people who love their pizza can try their hands at this recipe for delicious pizza dough, which can be customized with toppings and flavors as desired.
Easy Pizza Dough
Milk replaces water in this recipe to add flavor to the dough. If milk isn't available, substitute with water.
4 cups bread or all-purpose white flour
11/4 cups lukewarm milk
21/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup additional milk
1. Preheat oven to 450 F.
2. Prepare the dough "starter." In a large liquid measuring cup, add the 11/4 cups warm milk, 1 teaspoon sugar and the yeast. Stir and set aside for 5 minutes. Allow the starter to foam up, which is called proofing.
3. In a large mixing bowl, add the flour and make a well in the center of the flour. Add the salt. Mix to combine well.
4. Mix the starter with the remaining milk, olive oil and the flour in the mixing bowl until combined and a little sticky.
5. Either turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead by hand for 8 minutes to get a smooth, elastic, rubbery dough ball, or use a stand mixer with a dough hook to knead.
6. Put the kneaded dough in a bowl and drizzle with some olive oil. Cover the dough with a damp towel or plastic wrap. Allow to rise around an hour, or until it doubles in size. The rate of rising will depend on the temperature in the house and the potency of the yeast.
7. Sprinkle cornmeal on the bottom of the pizza pan. Deflate the dough and press into the pan. Stretch and flatten as necessary.
8. Top with sauce, cheese and favorite toppings. Bake for about 12 to 15 minutes, or until the bottom of the pizza looks slightly browned.